Homer Simpson knows a thing or two about parenting

He?s been parenting young children for more than two decades so when it comes to insights and advice, you could do worse than listen to Homer Simpson, writes Leona O'Neill. Then again, you could do better too

Every night the O’Neills tune in to see America’s best loved family live their lives

EVERY night in our house we have a standard routine. Homework, dinner, then everyone descends on the living room sofa for The Simpsons. Every night we tune in to see America's best loved modern family live their lives, while teaching us important life lessons.

Last night as we watched, Homer gave out some parental advice to Crusty the Clown after the funny man found out he had a surprise daughter. He told Crusty: "The key to parenting is don’t overthink it. Because overthinking leads to... what were we talking about?”

And it got me thinking. Homer has been a parent to three young children under 10 now for more than 20 years. There could be no-one who knows more than he. You could do worse than lending him your ears for an hour.

The patriarch has gifted us with many a parenting gem. He may not always be perfect – he may not ever be perfect – but he loves his kids and we could all learn a thing or two about raising ours from him.

Perhaps it is because he appears to have the same mental age as his children, perhaps it’s because he’s an out-there fictional character, but the man makes an awful lot of sense, sometimes.

For example, when discussing concerns over his son being different at school he had these pearls of wisdom: “The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man. Let’s see. Don’t tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say anything, unless you’re sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do. What else?…”

When comforting his daughter Lisa after she failed a test at school, he said: “You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try.”

And, when trying to instill a strong work ethic in his boy he told Bart: “Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now, quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”

And when Lisa inquires about the challenges of working life he said: “Lisa, if you don’t like your job you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.”

Showing himself to be the caring, understanding dad of merit he tells Lisa: “Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand” and to Bart “Son, being popular is the most important thing in the whole world.”

And the words of wisdom don’t stop with the children. He lends his parental and life advice often to his long suffering wife. “Marge, there’s an empty spot I’ve always had inside me. I tried to fill it with family, religion, community service, but those were dead ends! I think this chair is the answer.”

And, championing the modern family, he tells Marge: “Movies are the only escape from the drudgery of work and family – no offence". And “Remember as far as anyone knows, we’re a nice normal family.”

And he even bestows his wisdom upon unwitting passing parents. “Kids are great, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate and they practically raise themselves nowadays, you know, with the internet and all.”

And for those who are unsure about taking the leap into commitment “Marriage is like a coffin and each kid is another nail.”

Borrowing some wisdom from Whitney Houston at times, Homer once told us: “I believe the children are our future. Unless we stop them now.”

You’ve got to give it to Homer J – he never lets good parenting muddy the waters of illogical and irrational thinking.


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